A Summary Review: The Faith of a Child by Art Murphy

First, the entirety of the work was not required reading for my internship. Only chapters 2 and 4–7 were required. The topics discussed in these chapters were what the Bible says about children and salvation, understanding a child’s faith, how to know if they have become a Christian, leading a child to Christ, and finally the roles of parents and teachers.

With just a quick scan of the contents it quickly becomes obvious that this work is attempting to recognize when a child is coming to faith. The main goal of the work is to help a parent/teacher understand how to nurture this in a child and balance that fine line between affirming that a child has come to faith when they have not; and discouraging a child from becoming a Christian when they are on the verge.

This is why Murphy devotes a great deal of space to understanding what the bible says about children and salvation, and how to recognize the beginnings of faith in Christ. Perhaps the most helpful of Murphy’s illustrations is relating spiritual birth to physical birth. First, the baby grows in the womb. The baby is not born at this time, but it is stage of preparation for the life. He encourages parents and teachers to wait during this time, affirm the child in their questions about God, as well as their attention to spiritual things. The goal during this stage is to nurture the child’s understanding of God and the gospel.

Overall, Murphy’s work is mainly focused on recognizing when a child has questions about God and Jesus. When someone recognizes this the main goal is to nurture the child by positively responding to them and helping them understand what the bible teaches about God and the gospel. All the time working towards what he calls a full-term birth. This would be when the child is fully ready to convert to Christianity.

While Murphy spends some time on how an adult should communicate with a child, the majority focuses on understanding conversion biblically and applying that to the development of a child mentally (and spiritually).


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